Allen Pierleoni

Counter Culture: Roseville’s My Thai Kitchen will delight diners

Mango and sweet sticky rice a My Thai Kitchen
Mango and sweet sticky rice a My Thai Kitchen apierleoni@sacbee.com

Since it opened in 2007, the Stone Point Shopping Center in Roseville has seen restaurants come and go. Now it seems to have a stable lineup, with eateries bumping shoulders with the center’s pioneer restaurant, Paul Martin’s American Grill (now a 10-store chain).

Let’s see, there’s the Italian Cibo 7, Trademark Pizza, Bloom Coffee and Tea, and the chains (large and small) Costa Vida Mexican Grill, Blue Nami Sushi, Mario’s Early Toast (not to be confused with Early Toast Mimosa House also in Roseville, and in El Dorado Hills) and Pita Pit.

Three lunch pals and I walked from the multiacre parking lot and across the deserted, wind-swept communal dining patio and into My Thai Kitchen. A sandwich board at the front door announced, “Happy Hour 4-7... $4 Appetizers.” The restaurant is owned and operated by Lamyai “Joy” Chaiyakam-Palmer, who grew up in the Roi Et province of northeast Thailand, and business partner Shawn Kelly. “I do 80 to 90 percent of the cooking myself,” she said later, from recipes she has developed over the years.

We settled in a spacious booth with a panoramic view of the very well-decorated dining room (check out the chandeliers and wall art) and pored over the long menu ($6 to $16). One twist we liked was the notation, “Order from dinner menu – lunch size portions” (and prices). Diners can order anything from the menu at any time.

Another bonus was the server’s thoughtful query about how fiery we wanted our meals, with the heat factor from one to four. Though the lunch pals are all world travelers, they went for the mildest heat. Isn’t travel supposed to broaden the palate? Is an appreciation for sweat-inducing food somehow linked to that? Maybe not.

As previously noted in this space, Thai food is among our most popular ethnic cuisines, ranking up there with Chinese, Mexican and Italian. The cuisine’s signatures are the integration of healthful, fresh seasonings, and the use of contrast to heighten texture and flavor – warm and cool, sweet and sour, soft and crunchy. It was influenced by the cooking of India (the curries) and China (the stir-fries), and even Portugal, which in the 1500s brought the chili pepper to the world’s table.

We wanted to give the menu a fair survey, so ordered a bunch of indicative items, beginning with fresh-tasting spring rolls (greens and shrimp in rice paper) and a refreshing green papaya salad, the julienned fruit crunchy and moist, accented by a spritz of lime juice (OMG, a little heat manged to show up!).

Thom kha is coconut milk-based soup filled with herbs, mushrooms, with chicken or tofu. This version was citrusy and rich with flavors including cilantro. Next was pad ginger, well-balanced and tasty with characteristic ginger zing, the veggies crunchy, the bean sauce luscious.

Many veteran diners claim that pad Thai – pan-fried noodles with veggies and other add-ins – is the standard by which to judge a Thai restaurant. It’s been the national dish of Thailand since World War II for several reasons, including a rice shortage back then. We think its cousin, pad see ew, also sets the bar. This one was irresistible – wide rice noodles with egg, broccoli, carrot and mushrooms in a soy-based sauce.

A curry is always a must-taste, and we were very happy with silken green curry weighted with chunks of avocado, bell pepper, snow peas and carrot. A plate of excellent pineapple fried rice was the best rendition we’ve seen in recent years.

We discovered a perfect mango in the traditional dessert of sweet-sticky rice and mango. Where can we buy a bushel?

50 years of deviled eggs

Finding ourselves on the outskirts of upscale Menlo Park last weekend, we were led by a local not to the French bistros Left Bank or Vida, nor to Gombei (Japanese), nor LB Steak. Instead, she took us to the Dutch Goose, which opened in 1966 and looks like it hasn’t changed much since then.

Our guide touted the pub’s deviled eggs, of all things, and we gave them a whirl. Wow! They were creamy and rich, offering more layers of flavors than seemed possible, finishing with a bite of heat from the paprika sprinkled on top. Best we’ve ever tasted.

Later, we got owner Greg Stern on the phone, who told us the filling is made from a “secret recipe kept in a vault, and we don’t share it with anyone.” Fair enough. He added, “It’s our signature dish, but it’s a bittersweet (situation). The prep work behind them is mind-numbingly labor-intensive.”

They’ve been on the menu since day one. One egg is $2.25, a plate of nine (18 halves) is $16. P.S. The fried-chicken sandwich is a good choice, too.

Dutch Goose is at 3567 Alameda de Las Pulgas in Menlo Park; 650-854-3245, www.dutchgoose.net.

Allen Pierleoni: 916-321-1128, @apierleonisacbe

My Thai Kitchen

Where: 1465 Eureka Road, Roseville

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays (look for lunch specials)

Food:  1/2

Ambiance:

How much: $$-$$$

Information: 916-781-3222, eatatmythaikitchen.com

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